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The All-Stars

Comm 330
Project 1

Throughout the television show “Scooby Doo”, many examples of small group
communication are apparent. The gang, consisting of Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and
Scooby, make up a problem-solving group, which exists to overcome some unsatisfactory
situation or obstacles to achieving a goal. The problems they solve are the mysteries that occur
within their town. As they do this, they are constantly interacting with each other. Within these
interactions, many of the terms and ideas relevant to this class are apparent. For the sake of our
analysis, we did not focus on Scooby because his role in the group is minimal based on the fact
that he is not a human. But, there was plenty of small group interaction between the other four
members of the gang. This small group interacts based upon the Social Exchange Theory
because there are rewards and costs attached to being a member of this group that are evident
throughout the episode.
In the middle of the episode, we see the gang in the Mystery Machine headed to school.
The monster shows up, so the gang decides to ditch school so they can try to catch the villain.
This demonstrates costs, which are the things that being a member of the group takes away from
the individual. Because of being in the gang, the members have to give up their time and their
school/education at times. They also are putting their lives in danger, which is a cost.
Fortunately, the rewards outweigh the costs. Rewards are the things that come as benefits to the
group as a part of being in this group. The biggest reward is catching the “bad guy” and
achieving justice, which occurs at the end of the episode.
The need for affection is apparent in each member of the gang is a part of the group.
According to Schutz’s theory, the need for affection is what drives people to give and receive
emotional warmth and closeness. Throughout the entire episode, examples of how the gang uses
their friendship to fuel their togetherness are seen. They each individually need to feel wanted
and close to each other, so in turn they make each other feel that way. One would see this
perfectly in the episode when each of the characters tell their parents as to why they need this
group. It shows each character at their house with their parents telling them they do not
understand the point behind this group. The characters do a good job by telling their parents
exactly how the gang has helped them individually.
Another reason that they all are in the same group is based on mutuality of concern. This
is the degree to which members share the same level of commitment to the group or team. Each
member of the gang is committed because they care about justice and about the well-being of
each other. We can see this displayed when everyone is willing to skip school because they feel
justice is more important. Also, when Daphne is in danger of being attacked by the villain, each
of the other members is solely focused on helping her because that is the most important thing to
each of them in that moment.
One last thing that draws this group together is that they share the same values, or
enduring conceptions of good and bad. This group clearly values justice. They feel that justice is
the ultimate goal in all situations, which is why they can sacrifice their time in order to solve
these mysteries.
Within the group, different types of power are displayed. Two of the most obvious are
referent power and expert power. Referent power is the power of interpersonal attraction that
stems from people being attracted to those whom they admire and want to emulate. Fred
demonstrates referent power because the group all looks up to him and respects him, so they do
what he says. An example is when he suggests that they all skip school. Everybody complies
without question. Because of his referent power, Fred is looked up to, and thus has the
opportunity to provide confirming responses. A confirming response is a response that causes
people to value themselves more. This happens when Daphne finds a locket in the cave. She tells
Fred, and he responds by congratulating her and telling her she did a good job.
Expert power is the power that stems from a group member’s ability to influence others
based on the knowledge and information the member possesses. Velma has expert power
because she always knows facts and uses that knowledge to help the group. When they are down
in the cave, Velma is able to identify some barrels as being military, and she gives an
approximation for how old they are.
Toward the end of the episode, we see the gang’s process to actually catch the villain. We
see their decision-making. Decision-making is making a choice from among several alternatives.
The gang must decide who is guilty. In this process, they first make a hasty generalization, which
is when a person, or group, reaches a conclusion based on too little evidence or evidence that
doesn’t exist. The gang first accuses Fruitmeir of being the bad guy, but they didn’t have the
correct evidence. The only evidence they had was that the Fruitmeir ice cream was used as the
villain’s weapon, but that doesn’t mean Fruitmeir had to be the bad guy. They just jumped to that
conclusion.
Along with making a hasty generalization, the gang used groupthink, which is the illusion
of agreement exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus
without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. They all just agreed that the villain
was Fruitmeir. They yell it out in unison, and no one questions it. They don’t have the proper
evidence, but none of them want to really analyze the situation for better evidence.
After realizing that they are wrong, the gang uses reasoning to determine who the real
villain is. Reasoning is the process of drawing a conclusion from evidence. They reasoned to
determine that Professor Rothelow was guilty. A more specific type of reasoning is deductive
reasoning. This is the process of going from a general statement or principle to a specific
conclusion. After they were proved to be wrong about Fruitmeir being the villain, the gang had
to use deductive reasoning. They went from the general statement that anyone other than
Fruitmeir could be the villain to the specific conclusion that it was Professor Rothelow. They did
this by simply pulling the mask off of the villain. It was then plain to see that the villain was
Professor Rothelow.
We can see that the gang was correct in the end, despite dealing with fallacies at the
beginning of their process. Fallacies are false reasoning that occurs when someone attempts to
arrive at a conclusion without adequate evidence or with arguments that are irrelevant or
inappropriate. In the end, we know that the gang did not use false reasoning to determine
Professor Rothelow was the villain because they actually pulled the mask off of him and
everyone saw him standing there dressed as the villain.
The gang from “Scooby Doo” does an excellent job of demonstrating many different
traits, theories, and concepts dealing with small group communication. Throughout the show, we
see the way the group interacts with each other, and we can learn about small groups through
those interactions. In the end, this small group is always able to come together and solve the
mystery.